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Heinz Schild:

Jungfrau Railway – the unfinished

Cartographica Helvetica 45 (2012) 39–49


The end of the 19th century in Switzerland: it is a time of change, a time of creativity and technical innovation. The liberal Railway Act from 1852 and 1874 promoted and privileged railways. It introduced a worldwide unique boom in mountain railways 20 years after the opening of the Rigi Railway in 1871. Between 1870 and 1914, no fewer than 75 railway projects were conceived in the Jungfrau region alone, 50 were granted a concession and 19 were built. The most spectacular – the Jungfrau Railway – thrust its way through the massive rock to glaciers and ice approaching the 4000 m limit. This unique railway project was planned, managed and financed by Adolf Guyer-Zeller (1839–1899). On August 1st, 1912, the highest railway station in Europe at an altitude of 3454 m was modestly inaugurated. The original project to the top of this majestic mountain was never finished. Financial reasons, but also ethical and ecological considerations made the completion of the final stage impossible.

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